by RYAN MOEGGENBERG
When I was young I grew up on a ten-acre hobby farm about 20 miles outside of Lansing, Michigan. My parents had purchased the property from our neighbor, Louis Mosier. Louis was retired, had a small herd of cows, a decent-sized hayfield and a large orchard on his property. Our herds of cows ran together on his property in the summertime because they had access to grass and the Thornapple River in his woods. In the winter time the cows were kept on our property because my dad and brother and I would put up all of Louis’ hay in our barn and feed them all winter.
Along our property line, next to my mom’s garden, Louie had a large orchard including peaches, apricots, plums, cherries, apples and pears. The last time I drove by my old house when I was visiting family, the orchard was still there — nearly 40 years later. Anytime I remember my childhood, the memories include climbing in those trees playing hide and seek with my brother Kyle and Louis’ grandkids. We would eat so much fruit that when my mom rang the triangle dinner bell for lunch we were already full. Memories of spending evenings with my mother preserving the fruit, having apple pie in a jar for dessert that Mom had canned, spending days with Dad shaking apple trees and collecting the apples to make apple cider that we would take to our neighborhood Halloween party at the one-room schoolhouse just down the road. I will always remember Louie and the memories of his orchard.
If we had stayed living in that house I may have been able to turn that orchard into a small enterprise by selling the fruit itself — or turning it into products like the apple cider. It’s possible that I could have paid for my first pick up when I turned 16 with profits from that orchard. Once trees are established, with a little maintenance every year it could be like having your own money tree!
Real estate is always a hot topic in Central Oregon. We’ve had ups and downs and lots of competition for buying and selling. Speaking with a real estate agent friend of mine, I asked their opinion about the value of a property with fruit trees. They commented that it did not typically raise the value but that it did make houses sell faster as the fruit trees would stand out in a person’s mind and keep them thinking about that property.
Robin from Tumalo Garden Market has a great article for us this issue about fruit trees that do well in Central Oregon. I hope some of our stories and considerations get you thinking about planting some fruit trees on your property. Even if not for any of the considerations above, it’s like planting a little bit of your own immortality. My childhood is full of great memories because our neighbor planted some fruit trees and I’m still talking about him today.